Schindler's list attracts lots of buzz but no bids

So far, the eBay auction, which is looking for $5 million, hasn't gotten any offers from major collectors or museums.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 23, 2013 10:45AM
1968 filer shows Oskar Schindler (AP Photo/Peter Hillebrecht)The eBay (EBAY) auction of an original copy of Schindler's list has attracted plenty of media attention and scads of Internet traffic but, at least so far, no bids.

Perhaps buyers are waiting to make their move until closer to the auction's expiration on July 28. Maybe sellers Gary Zimet and Eric Gazin scared away buyers when they told the New York Post they hoped the list German industrialist Oskar Schindler used to save Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis would fetch $5 million. That would make it among the most expensive things ever sold on eBay.  

But the Schindler's list auction shows that asking big money for historical artifacts is one thing, while getting it is far more difficult.

Four of the seven known copies of the list typed on onion-skin paper by Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern still exist. Two are held by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum. Stern's nephew Nathan Stern sold the document to an unidentified private collector in 2011, who has now put it up for sale

Officials from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem didn't immediately respond to an email request for comment along with the National Museum of American Jewish History. The USC Shoah Foundation, which is backed by filmaker Steven Spielberg, also couldn't be reached. Spielberg's 1993 film "Schindler's List" won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.

Gazin Auctions, which is selling the list, has a good reputation among eBay buyers, according to the site's feedack ratings. Besides Schindler's list, Gazin also has a Samuel Morse photograph for sale that's inscribed by the telegraph's inventor with the message "What hath God wrought," the only known instance where Morse wrote that first telegraph message in both English and Morse Code. The asking price is $54,000.

Gazin also has three pages of handwritten notes by Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks describing meeting Marin Luther King and the Montgomery Bus Boycott for sale for $35,000.

Regarding the lack of bidders so far, Gazin says he's not worried. He tells MSN moneyNOW in an email: "It is not unusual for high-profile eBay auctions not to have a flurry of activity. Numerous people have been asking to get prequalified to bid and we are going to (vet) them carefully to verify the seriousness of the bid and the means to make a prompt payment."

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

More on moneyNOW

Jul 23, 2013 1:08PM

That's a rather high asking price when so many (four? seven?) equivalent copies exist.


Still, Mr. Spielberg might wish to bring this copy home for the USC Shoah Foundation. He would take it in the wallet about the way I would buying a Hershey Bar.

Jul 23, 2013 3:41PM
I was gonna bid $3,000,000.01 until I looked at the image of the back of the list where it is stamped "Property of Universal Studios Prop Department" DOH!
Jul 23, 2013 3:32PM

It's a shame this "collector" is starting auctions at 3 million.  Seems to me he is being borderline greedy with a touch of extortion added in.


Now, if he started off at a penny, with no reserve, then I would have a little more respect for him.

Jul 23, 2013 1:52PM
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Jul 23, 2013 3:33PM
Jul 23, 2013 2:38PM
I'll offer them$1.00 US. Do you think they would take a check?
Jul 23, 2013 1:41PM
Proof that it's not worth the paper it's printed on.
Jul 23, 2013 1:58PM
I guess Jewish History isn't worth that much to the Jewish community!
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